There are times that I wish I had a better grasp of animal psychology to understand what was going on inside their heads. This is never more true than when it comes to watching the interactions between Willow and Cat.
As I have mentioned before, Willow just wants to play a lot of the time and she extends this playfulness to Cat, seeing her as a substitute dog. If Cat walks into the room Willow will run up to her, tail wagging nineteen to the dozen and ‘bounce’ her in the way that dogs do to initiate play. Her forelegs go down, her bum goes up and then she bounces away and back again, there may also be barking. As we have wooden floors it can be quite amusing to watch as Willow’s paws scrabble all over the place with no grip. Cat, faced with a very excited and happy dog usually sits down and bats at her with a paw, generally without her claws extended. Willow is obviously saying ‘Play with me,’ and Cat is replying, ‘No, get lost,’ but at the same time she will put up with it rather than immediately leaving. Eventually, however, she does get fed up with the attention and walks away with Willow skittering around her as she does so until Cat breaks into a run. I’m hoping sooner or later Cat will realise that running is an invitation to be chased, an invitation that Willow can’t refuse. Cat usually ends the game by running upstairs or jumping onto a table where Willow can’t reach her, although that doesn’t stop her trying.
Rarely, however, does Cat appear to be stressed by all this attention. Once she’s safely out of reach she’s quite happy to sit and watch Willow. There are times when Willow will be curled up in her basket and Cat will come up to her and touch noses and have a good smell of her while she’s being quiet. It is rare in any of their interventions that Cat will arch her back, fluff up and hiss, although she has done it occasionally. If all else fails Willow is not allowed upstairs in the house so Cat always has somewhere to retreat to for some peace and quiet.
There is one game that they can play very happily together. We have an internal cat flap in the door between the kitchen and the living room. The game where Willow sticks her head through the cat flap and gets smacked by Cat sitting on the other side can keep them both happily occupied for long stretches of time!